Fact Check from Climate Hearings – 5/19/09

The Waxman-Markey bill will increase utility bills. – Mike Rogers (R-MI)

Yes, it will.  By roughly what it costs to brew one pot of coffee in the morning, and substantially less than a pack of chewing gum.  EPA estimates this bill will cost the average American household as little as $98 per year – in other words, about a dime a day per person.

That’s nothing compared to what will happen to Planet Earth, and the economy, if we fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — punishing heat waves, droughts, water shortages, sea level rise that threatens coastal cities, food shortages around the world, intense hurricanes, and more.  Even the military is worried about the national security implications.  One never hears about these costs from the opponents of this bill – either because they don’t even believe global warming is real, or they refuse to believe what scientists are saying about the future consequences of inaction.

This bill will increase unemployment. It’s in the bill. – Mike Rogers (R-MI)

Jobs are created and destroyed in a market economy on a daily basis.  But new jobs — good jobs — will be created as U.S. companies ramp up production of clean energy technologies. The Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy has predicted that total manufacturing employment will be roughly the same in the year 2030 under cap and trade versus business as usual.

These new jobs will come in dynamic new industries — from manufacturing, installing, and servicing green energy technologies.  EDF has created a map detailing where a carbon cap will create jobs in 14 states – go to www.lesscarbonmorejobs.org.

Green jobs are “subprime” and will disappear over time “just like leaves on a tree.” – Phil Gingrey (R-GA, yesterday)

Depends on what you call “subprime.”  Are jobs making steel for wind turbine towers “subprime”?  Are jobs making solar cells “subprime”?  Are jobs making energy-efficient windows?  How about jobs making wind turbine blades?  Or the 8,000 other component parts in a single wind turbine?  And why should these jobs disappear?  Like any machine, a wind turbine will wear out and need replacement.  In the meantime, mechanics will need to service it.  For decades, solar cells have been getting progressively more efficient.  Twenty years from now (or even sooner), it will become economically advantageous to replace the solar cells we install today, because the new cells will be more efficient.
Why are any of these jobs subprime?  Why would they disappear tomorrow?

China and India won’t sign on. – Mike Rogers (R-MI)

The U.S. is the undisputed economic, political, and military leader of the West.  Among Western nations, we are also the largest single emitter of greenhouse gas pollution.  One guarantee: China and India will not cap their greenhouse gas emissions unless the U.S. moves first.  But once the U.S. passes an emissions cap, then China and India can no longer use U.S. inaction as an excuse not to cap their carbon pollution. A cap and trade bill will unleash the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in the U.S. waiting for Congress to act.  The new, green technologies they create can be manufactured here, used to reduce our emissions, and exported to nations like China and India.

This legislation will run off jobs to other countries that emit more carbon. – Steve Scalise (R-LA)

If you haven’t slept through the past 30 years, you’ve probably noticed that jobs have been “running off” to other countries for a long time.  Those larger trends will continue, as the U.S. continues its shift from a manufacturing to a service economy, for better or worse. A cap and trade bill, however, will help create U.S. manufacturing jobs.

A single wind turbine, for example, contains 250 tons of steel, along with 8,000 parts, from copper wire, gearboxes, and ball bearings to electronic controls.  A wind turbine tower contains more than 50 tons of steel.  Jobs making these components can be created here in America.  Reducing our carbon emissions will create jobs manufacturing other renewable energy technologies, manufacturing and installing advanced windows for energy efficient buildings, and making thousands of other products in America.

This bill picks winners and losers. – Nathan Deal (R-GA)

Again with the winners and losers thing.  For readers who didn’t see yesterday’s response:  The whole point of the cap and trade approach is to let private markets, not government, pick winners and losers.  We can all agree that government doesn’t do this well.  (See:  oil shale, 1970s.)  The private carbon market will reward companies that adopt the cheapest and most efficient technologies for reducing carbon.  See EDF’s Cap and Trade 101.

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